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Brain Res Bull. 2001 Dec;56(6):593-7.

Dietary restriction of choline reduces hippocampal acetylcholine release in rats: in vivo microdialysis study.

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Department of Geriatrics, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.


We fed rats with a diet deficient in choline for 12 weeks and studied how dietary choline deficiency affected their behavior and their ability to release acetylcholine in discrete regions of rat brain using step-through passive avoidance task and in vivo microdialysis. In comparison with the control, rats fed the choline-deficient diet showed poorer retention of nociceptive memory in the passive avoidance task. Average choline level in cerebrospinal fluid in the choline-deficient group was significantly less (33.1%) than that of control rats. In vivo microdialysis showed no difference in the pattern of acetylcholine release enhanced by intraperitoneal administration of scopolamine hydrochloride (2 mg/kg) in the striatum between the two groups, whereas in the hippocampus, the maximum and subsequent increase of acetylcholine from the baseline by scopolamine injection was significantly lower in the choline-deficient group than in the control. From the results of our study, we speculate that long-term dietary restriction of choline can affect extra- and intracellular sources of substrates required for acetylcholine synthesis, and eventually limit the ability to release acetylcholine in the hippocampus. Reduced capacity to release acetylcholine in the hippocampus implies that the mechanism, maintaining acetylcholine synthesis on increased neuronal demand, may vary in discrete regions of the brain in response to dietary manipulation. The vulnerability of the mechanism in the hippocampus to dietary choline restriction is indicated by impaired mnemonic performance we observed.

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